THE big-hearted couple behind Banff’s Starfish Shoppie have praised people in Banff for their support since the shop which funds a children’s home, a school and self-help programmes in a remote Kenyan village opened two months ago in premises on Strait Path.
Fraserburgh-based Jayne Wiseman and husband, Edwin, set up the Starfish Project after a holiday in Kenya.
Their getaway opened their eyes to the plight of thousands of children fighting a daily battle for survival in the face of mass unemployment, crippling deprivation and physical and sexual abuse in one of the AIDS capitals of the African continent.
From humble beginnings five years ago, when the couple pledged themselves to their fundraising efforts, the Starfish Project, now a registered charity, is pioneering a new way of making sure charitable aid reaches its target, circumventing the main pitfall of local corruption which has long hindered aid programmes all over Africa.
“Our main target is provide direct aid which gives the children we help, above all, hope and an education to help them better themselves,” said Jayne.
“When we first visited Kenya, we were shocked to see aid being siphoned off by unscrupulous government officials and we decided we wanted to help, starting up in Fraserburgh where support has mushroomed to the extent that local schools, church groups and other community organisations are raising cash for us all year round.
“Here in Banff, we have been massively encouraged by the response and generosity of local people who are asking questions about what we do, spending money at the shop, donating goods for sale in the shop and, in many cases, simply donating cash.
“People everywhere are thinking about how they support charities, and questioning the overheads of national charities and how much of the money actually gets where it is intended to go.”For the full story, see the 'Banffshire Journal'